By Dave Andrusko
Over the last few weeks, there have been a string of polls on the question of whether the public supports a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. When the question is asked straightforwardly—as opposed to including lengthy “explanations”—the percentage is always in the 60s.
That was the case with a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today, although you wouldn’t know it unless you looked at the cross tabs.
The lead is the Washington Post story accompanying the poll reads
“By a margin of 56 to 27 percent, more Americans say they’d prefer to impose limits on abortions after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the 24-week mark established under current law, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
Let’s never mind that abortion is legal past the first 24 weeks. What don’t we know from that lead?
That if you include those who say abortion should never be legal (8% in this poll) and those who would want the ban earlier (“fewer weeks”—2%), a total of 66% support the ban. Note also the percentage of those who responded they would want the ban later than 24 weeks—0%!
There are some other troubling aspects to the poll which push the direction in a pro-abortion direction.
· Unlike Gallup, the Post/ABC News poll does not probe deeper to find more specifically what are the circumstances in which people would support abortion. If you do, you consistently find that a total of 58% of the American public believes that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (20%) or legal in only a few circumstances (38%).
· The poll asks, “Several states are considering or recently have passed legislation that makes it more difficult for abortion clinics to operate there. Overall is this something you support or oppose?” What would be the response if the public was asked, “In light of the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, several states are considering or recently have passed legislation that makes it more difficult for abortion clinics to operate without oversight and inspection. Overall is this something you support or oppose?” While neither is unbiased, the latter is much closer to the reason abortion clinic regulations have been enacted.
And, of course, the only “voice” the story quotes is from someone who says he supports abortion only in the “hard” cases but also opposes requirements to upgrade abortion clinics. That way the Post can have it both ways.
The public is squarely behind this kind of legislation.